KUNM

US Poet Laureate Kicks Off Tour In NM, Investigation Sparked After Man Shot By APD

Jan 13, 2018

US Poet Laureate Starts Rural Reading Tour In New Mexico Associated Press

The U.S. poet laureate has embarked on the first of several trips to rural pockets of the country where she says book festivals rarely take her.

Poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith's first trip as part of a pilot project she's launched with the Library of Congress is a three-day tour of New Mexico.

It began Thursday and includes stops at an air force base, the Santa Fe Indian School, and Santa Clara Pueblo.

The Librarian of Congress in June named Smith the U.S. poet laureate, a yearlong post that comes with few obligations beyond trying to build awareness of and appreciation for poetry.

Appointees are free to establish individual priorities.

Smith's include using poetry as a bridge for people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.

Man Shot By Albuquerque Police Was Wanted Ex-Felon Associated Press

Authorities have identified a man who was killed in a shooting involving Albuquerque police as a wanted ex-felon.

A police spokesman said Friday the man has been confirmed to be Daniel Saavedra-Arreola.

Gilbert Gallegos says Saavedra-Arreola had several aliases and served time in various correctional facilities.

According to police, officers responding to a residential burglary call last Sunday were confronted by a suspect with a weapon.

At least one officer opened fire, fatally wounding him.

A task force is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Gallegos says Saavedra-Arreola's past convictions include conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.

At the time of the shooting, he was wanted for probation violations and considered armed and dangerous.

Grand Jury Indicts Former Head Of New Mexico MLK Commission Associated Press

The former director of New Mexico's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission has been indicted on more than a dozen charges stemming from allegations of financial impropriety.

A grand jury has indicted Kimberly Greene on charges of fraud, embezzlement, larceny, conspiracy and other counts. It wasn't immediately clear if Greene, who was removed by the commission in 2016, had an attorney.

Indictments also were filed this week against a former commission employee and the director of the nonprofit Educational, Research, Evaluation and Design Inc., or eREAD. A phone message left at the eREAD office in Albuquerque wasn't returned.

The indictments follow a lengthy investigation that first became public two years ago when agents with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office seized bank records, invoices, emails and other documents related to the commission's financial activities.

Lawmakers Tackle Crime As New Mexico State Finances Improve Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are preparing to boost spending on public schools, early childhood education and law enforcement as state government climbs out of a financial crisis.

Strategies for reducing property crime and violence in New Mexico's largest city also are at the top of the agenda, as lawmakers convene Tuesday for a 30-day session.

New Mexico government income for the coming fiscal year is expected to surpass annual spending obligations by $199 million. The governor wants to raise an additional $99 million to bolster spending on education, prisons and business incentives.

Pay increases are slated for teachers, prosecutors, judges, corrections officers and state workers.

Martinez is pushing for tougher criminal penalties in her final year in office, while many lawmakers stress community policing initiatives.

NAVAJO STUDENTS-DORMS

Navajos, New Mexico University Reach Housing Partnership Associated Press

New Mexico's largest university and the Navajo Nation have teamed up to provide dormitory space for as many as 118 tribal students at a new campus housing development.

Officials announced the partnership Friday. The move comes after tribal lawmakers approved the use of nearly $1.5 million in supplemental funding for the effort.

Navajo President Russell Begaye said one of the primary reasons for the high dropout rate for Native American college students is financial distress. He says this will help alleviate some of the burden.

Navajo students will occupy two floors of the downtown Albuquerque development, known as the Lobo Rainforest.

The space will reflect the cultural and historical values of the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The tribe will determine eligibility for Navajo students who wish to live in the apartment-style units.

Sunland Park Names Ex-Dona Ana County Official As Manager Associated Press

A former Dona Ana County manager who was forced out last year amid a political fight is now the city manager of a New Mexico border community experiencing a revival.

The Sunland Park City Council appointed Julia Brown this week as its city manager during a special meeting. Brown was offered a two-year contract with an annual salary of $95,000.

The appointment comes after Brown was fired as Dona Ana County manager in what she described as a conflict between her and County Sheriff Kiki Vigil.

It also comes years after Sunland Park saw a number of high-profile corruption cases involved elected officials.

Since then the city has fixed its finances and it has seen some of the lowest violent crime rates in the state.

1st Trial Date Set In State Lawsuit Over Opioid Epidemic Associated Press

The first trial date has been set for a lawsuit by a state against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic.

Oklahoma is one of at least 13 states that have filed lawsuits against drugmakers, alleging fraudulent marketing of drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic.

State Attorney General Mike Hunter says a judge has granted his request for a May 28, 2019, trial date for the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and several of their subsidiaries.

The companies deny wrongdoing.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says other states that are suing are Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington state.

Lawsuits by Native American tribes and dozens of local governments are also pending.

Navajo Nation To Open First Tribal Police Academy Associated Press

The Navajo Nation will train its own police officers at its new Navajo Nation Police Academy.

Navajo Nation Public Safety Director Jesse Delmar says no other tribe has its own police academy.

Delmar says the Navajo Nation Police hired 20 recruits Wednesday who will be trained in Chinle, Arizona.

They could begin training as soon as February.

The Gallup Independent reports the Navajo academy will use curriculum based off of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training curriculum.

Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco says in the past, recruits have been trained at Arizona State Police academics.

He says being far from their families for about four months took a toll on the recruits.

 Associated Press

The U.S. poet laureate has embarked on the first of several trips to rural pockets of the country where she says book festivals rarely take her.

Poet laureate and Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith's first trip as part of a pilot project she's launched with the Library of Congress is a three-day tour of New Mexico.

It began Thursday and includes stops at an air force base, the Santa Fe Indian School, and Santa Clara Pueblo.

The Librarian of Congress in June named Smith the U.S. poet laureate, a yearlong post that comes with few obligations beyond trying to build awareness of and appreciation for poetry.

Appointees are free to establish individual priorities.

Smith's include using poetry as a bridge for people of different backgrounds and viewpoints.

Man Shot By Albuquerque Police Was Wanted Ex-Felon Associated Press

Authorities have identified a man who was killed in a shooting involving Albuquerque police as a wanted ex-felon.

A police spokesman said Friday the man has been confirmed to be Daniel Saavedra-Arreola.

Gilbert Gallegos says Saavedra-Arreola had several aliases and served time in various correctional facilities.

According to police, officers responding to a residential burglary call last Sunday were confronted by a suspect with a weapon.

At least one officer opened fire, fatally wounding him.

A task force is investigating the officer-involved shooting.

Gallegos says Saavedra-Arreola's past convictions include conspiracy to commit second-degree murder.

At the time of the shooting, he was wanted for probation violations and considered armed and dangerous.

Grand Jury Indicts Former Head Of New Mexico MLK Commission Associated Press

The former director of New Mexico's Martin Luther King Jr. Commission has been indicted on more than a dozen charges stemming from allegations of financial impropriety.

A grand jury has indicted Kimberly Greene on charges of fraud, embezzlement, larceny, conspiracy and other counts. It wasn't immediately clear if Greene, who was removed by the commission in 2016, had an attorney.

Indictments also were filed this week against a former commission employee and the director of the nonprofit Educational, Research, Evaluation and Design Inc., or eREAD. A phone message left at the eREAD office in Albuquerque wasn't returned.

The indictments follow a lengthy investigation that first became public two years ago when agents with the New Mexico Attorney General's Office seized bank records, invoices, emails and other documents related to the commission's financial activities.

Lawmakers Tackle Crime As New Mexico State Finances Improve Associated Press

New Mexico lawmakers and Republican Gov. Susana Martinez are preparing to boost spending on public schools, early childhood education and law enforcement as state government climbs out of a financial crisis.

Strategies for reducing property crime and violence in New Mexico's largest city also are at the top of the agenda, as lawmakers convene Tuesday for a 30-day session.

New Mexico government income for the coming fiscal year is expected to surpass annual spending obligations by $199 million. The governor wants to raise an additional $99 million to bolster spending on education, prisons and business incentives.

Pay increases are slated for teachers, prosecutors, judges, corrections officers and state workers.

Martinez is pushing for tougher criminal penalties in her final year in office, while many lawmakers stress community policing initiatives.

NAVAJO STUDENTS-DORMS

Navajos, New Mexico University Reach Housing Partnership Associated Press

New Mexico's largest university and the Navajo Nation have teamed up to provide dormitory space for as many as 118 tribal students at a new campus housing development.

Officials announced the partnership Friday. The move comes after tribal lawmakers approved the use of nearly $1.5 million in supplemental funding for the effort.

Navajo President Russell Begaye said one of the primary reasons for the high dropout rate for Native American college students is financial distress. He says this will help alleviate some of the burden.

Navajo students will occupy two floors of the downtown Albuquerque development, known as the Lobo Rainforest.

The space will reflect the cultural and historical values of the Navajo Nation, which spans parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah.

The tribe will determine eligibility for Navajo students who wish to live in the apartment-style units.

Sunland Park Names Ex-Dona Ana County Official As Manager Associated Press

A former Dona Ana County manager who was forced out last year amid a political fight is now the city manager of a New Mexico border community experiencing a revival.

The Sunland Park City Council appointed Julia Brown this week as its city manager during a special meeting. Brown was offered a two-year contract with an annual salary of $95,000.

The appointment comes after Brown was fired as Dona Ana County manager in what she described as a conflict between her and County Sheriff Kiki Vigil.

It also comes years after Sunland Park saw a number of high-profile corruption cases involved elected officials.

Since then the city has fixed its finances and it has seen some of the lowest violent crime rates in the state.

1st Trial Date Set In State Lawsuit Over Opioid Epidemic Associated Press

The first trial date has been set for a lawsuit by a state against pharmaceutical companies over the opioid epidemic.

Oklahoma is one of at least 13 states that have filed lawsuits against drugmakers, alleging fraudulent marketing of drugs that fueled the opioid epidemic.

State Attorney General Mike Hunter says a judge has granted his request for a May 28, 2019, trial date for the lawsuit against Purdue Pharma, Allergan, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Teva Pharmaceuticals and several of their subsidiaries.

The companies deny wrongdoing.

Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine's office says other states that are suing are Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, South Carolina and Washington state.

Lawsuits by Native American tribes and dozens of local governments are also pending.

Navajo Nation To Open First Tribal Police Academy Associated Press

The Navajo Nation will train its own police officers at its new Navajo Nation Police Academy.

Navajo Nation Public Safety Director Jesse Delmar says no other tribe has its own police academy.

Delmar says the Navajo Nation Police hired 20 recruits Wednesday who will be trained in Chinle, Arizona.

They could begin training as soon as February.

The Gallup Independent reports the Navajo academy will use curriculum based off of the Arizona Peace Officers Standards and Training curriculum.

Navajo Nation Police Chief Phillip Francisco says in the past, recruits have been trained at Arizona State Police academics.

He says being far from their families for about four months took a toll on the recruits.

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